During my fourth year as a postdoctoral researcher in computer science at my university, a position for an assistant professor opened up and was available to be filled by one of the local postdocs. We were only two candidates for the position and both completed our PhDs in the same year. However, during the interview process, the selection committee mentioned that my citation count (around 200) and h-index (8) were significantly lower compared to the other candidate.
In the past, I had worked with an exceptional professor for my PhD who emphasized the importance of producing high-quality, original research papers that could only be published in top-tier venues, even if it took a long time to get them published. I have continued to follow this approach in my research, focusing on developing novel ideas and publishing them in prestigious journals and highly selective conferences.
In contrast, my colleague has co-authored a large number of papers with numerous people, but a majority of these papers are surveys or discuss the challenges and issues surrounding certain topics. As a result, my colleague has garnered around 3000 citations and an h-index above 20.
I did not anticipate that the selection committee would necessarily favour me over my colleague, but I did expect to be seen as a viable candidate and for the selection process to be based on small, distinguishing factors. However, based on their criteria, it seems that I have already been eliminated from consideration before the committee has even reviewed my resume.
I am wondering if the strategy that I (and my PhD supervisor) have employed for research and publishing is flawed. Should I start writing survey papers, which have a higher likelihood of being published and cited, in order to improve my citation count and h-index? Alternatively, should I prioritize getting my name listed on as many papers as possible, even if it means compromising my contribution and the quality or originality of my research?
I want to clarify that I did not mean to imply that I am better than my colleague or that I believe myself to be superior. I was simply comparing a specific aspect of our research, the h-index, which played a role in the selection process. I explained the reason for the difference in our h-indices, which was mainly due to the types of publications we have each produced. I have a great deal of respect for my colleague and consider him to be highly competent. I would have been just as pleased if he had been selected, but not because of the h-index criterion. We are colleagues and I will continue to support him. However, my research philosophy differs from his, and I was wondering if this would hinder my progress.